At 28, Marisha Pessl earned rapturous praise (and the undisguised envy of her peers) for her debut novel, 2006's Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Now 35, Pessl is back with Night Film—an addictive mystery revolving around the death of an underground filmmaker's beautiful daughter. What does a literary phenom like her indulge in? Read on (and scroll down for the Night Film book trailer).
"I'm in love with J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot. I wish I was half-Vulcan! Even, like, an eighth, please? I'll probably end up at the conventions. I just have to get the hand gesture down."
"I remember freshman year in high school, a senior introduced me to Pearl Jam's Ten. The album cover was all their hands in the air doing a high-five. 'Black' and 'Release'—those songs still transport me."
"What Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, has pulled off season after season—as a novelist, I understand how difficult that is. He keeps topping himself creatively. I like The Killing, even though people give it such a hard time. And I just got obsessed with this series called Borgen. It's so good—like a Danish House of Cards, with a female prime minister."
"Steven Spielberg. I love every world he creates. I recently watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I miss those early-eighties and late-seventies works. It's so easy to get lost in that pure form of storytelling and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And he's such a master of capturing small moments in the context of these gigantic films. Like in Jaws, the scene when Roy Scheider is with his son, and they just have this wonderful silent exchange, making faces at each other. It's just a beautiful thing in this popcorn movie."
"I love contemporary photographers like Alex Prager and Richard Prince. And going to galleries in Chelsea and the Frieze to see what's current and what the trends are."
Book trailer for Night Film: